Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Malindi was different in May.
Peering through the tin framed window of the tuktuk, darting through the town & weaving past traffic, everything seemed normal.
The traders had their goods out, determined to make a shilling or two from jovial travellers.
Buses filled the roads, hustling about in readiness for the afternoon journey back to the capital.
The sun was out. Of course, we were in Malindi. Famous for her cloudless skies & palm trees.
So what was different?
The wheels of our iron chariot christened "Malindi Mamba" soon departed from the tarmac & wrestled with a sandy road as our destination materialised before us.
Villa Albachiara, the sign by the gate read.
This was the first time booking a villa off Airbnb at the coast & truth be told we were a bit nervous. But soon
anxiety bore way to marvel as we gawked at the architectural delight hidden in the suburbs of Malindi town.
The foyer was grand with a view of the dining area, lounge & kitchen. Looking upwards one could see the remaining bedrooms & pool table area. Hidden within palm trees was a private pool where we would spend the entire afternoon lazing about. Equipped with four bedrooms, the house offers luxury, comfort & privacy for her visiting guests. Perhaps the best part about the rooms, apart from the amazingly large beds, is the remote controlled air conditioning system which allows you to set the temperature of the room to your liking.
On a lovely afternoon you could enjoy the sun's golden light at the top verandah which allowed natural light in, filtered through the palm trees. Exactly the holiday we needed.
Unpacked & settled, we lay by the pool. We had gone shopping at the market & had handed over the groceries to the house chef. Lunch was on the stove & Pasta Pescatore* was on the menu.
*Pasta mixed with seafood & tomato sauce.
This experience was different from what most Kenyans know. Having only been familiar with hotels as holiday destinations, this emerging culture of substituting hotels with privately owned villas is a response to an evolving era. One that is being embraced by the current generation of young & adventurous Kenyans.
Everything in our world is different from as it was ten years ago. However, travel seems stuck in the past, in Kenya & Africa at large at least. We travel to the same places & at the same time.
Somewhere along the line, we lost the wonder of travel.
We created the concept of high & low season when in essence, the magic a land possesses can never be lost because of a change in season.
To get the most out of travel, we must participate in what the world seeks to teach us. To tap in to that transformative magic, we must engage with the natural world. Confronting the reality of finite resources, we must seek sustainability in wherever we visit.
Here I was. Feet dipped in to the crystal blue pool water & lost in a sea of thoughts.
The coastal sun is much more fierce but her light beautiful. Seeping through the palm trees, casting playful shadows on our skin.
So what was different about Malindi in May you ask?
I'd worry about that later, lunch was now being served.